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Bringing good things to light

A Bolivian family basks in the glow of its solar-powered LED lamp.

Anthony and Faith Harckham of Calgary, Alberta, have have made it their mission to free remote communities from reliance on costly kerosene lighting, which . Their solution: LEDs, which convert electricity into light relatively efficiently, powered by photovoltaic cells, which can reliably generate the necessary electricity from abundant sunlight.

Luxtreks, their nonprofit venture, has put these lamps in the homes of more than 700 impoverished families in Bolivia, Peru, Nepal and Pakistan by enlisting the help of travelers. Do-gooders who sign up with Luxtreks pay $750 above their travel costs, which covers the cost of lighting about 20 homes. They then head out to the destination country and actually help to install the lights, seeing beautiful scenery and meeting terriffic people along the way.

Perhaps not coincidentally, Light the World, a nonprofit with a similar cause is also headquartered in Calgary.

Read the full story in IEEE Spectrum.

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